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Founders Day 2021

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True Blue Awardee Nettie Ware

by Allison Howard | April 01, 2021

Nettie WareBorn in Meriwether County in Greenville, Georgia, Nettie Ware's early memories are of her mother taking her and her siblings to church and singing in the choir. She also recalls her mother always saying how important it is to serve the Lord Jesus. Walking to school, about five miles each way, in the rain and sometimes in the snow, was her reality; but nevertheless, she thoroughly enjoyed walking to school with her brothers and sisters, ten in all. No stranger to hard work, Ware lived on a farm with her parents picking and chopping cotton and pulling corn. As a very young girl, she developed a love for cleaning, and it became her responsibility within the household to make all the beds. She first watched her older sisters make beds, and then she quickly mastered how to do this chore much better than them.

Ware attended grammar school in Meriwether County and high school in Gay, Georgia before moving to Atlanta to begin working at Morehouse College as housekeeper for President Dr. Benjamin E. Mays. After a few years, she began working in the cafeteria at Morehouse, and later joined Alma Upshaw, the head cook and her supervisor, as a cook at Spelman College in the late 1950’s. She has many fond memories from that era including serving Dr. Albert Manley, fifth president of Spelman College, meals in the President’s Dining Hall.

After marrying and moving to Los Angeles, she later returned to Atlanta with her two daughters. She applied for a cooking position at Spelman again and was rehired. After about 15 years, she realized she did not like cooking as much and applied for a position with John Bowden, the manager in Spelman’s Maintenance Department, and she was  immediately hired. She enjoyed cleaning much more than cooking, and she has served in this capacity faithfully for the last 35 years under the leadership of five Spelman College presidents, and the current president, Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell.

Ware loves working at Spelman and says it feels like her second home. She is responsible for cleaning the Living Learning Center II first floor and its guest suites and ensures the facilities and rooms are clean and prepared for both students and visitors. She finds enjoyment in preparing a cozy and clean place for others, and also delights in assisting students, alumnae, staff, guests and all people who arrive on campus with whatever need they may have. In her spare time, she likes gardening, maintaining her yard, listening to gospel music loudly, and reading the Holy Bible.